distracted; deeply agitated.
mentally deranged; crazed.

Origin of distraught

1350–1400; Middle English variant of obsolete distract distracted, by association with straught, old past participle of stretch
Related formsdis·traught·ly, adverbo·ver·dis·traught, adjectiveun·dis·traught, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distraught

Contemporary Examples of distraught

Historical Examples of distraught

  • She burst into a little peal of laughter as she looked into his distraught face.

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • The children were distraught and restless, and things went wrong.

  • I should have known that she was not herself, that she was frightened and nervous and distraught.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • She was ill, distraught, perhaps even—God help her I—perhaps even mad.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • In her distraught state of mind she had scarcely pondered that contingency.

    The Sea-Hawk

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for distraught



distracted or agitated
rare mad

Word Origin for distraught

C14: changed from obsolete distract through influence of obsolete straught, past participle of stretch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for distraught

late 14c., alteration (Englishing) of earlier distract (perhaps by association with other past participle forms in -ght, such as caught, bought, brought), mid-14c., past participle of distracten "derange the intellect of, drive mad" (see distract).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper